To Charles Lyttelton
two Lytteltons had been drowned2 in the adjoyning stream; and another3 had so often walked there.
The frolick boy, unfortunately gay, Too near the current urg'd his little play; The yielding bank beneath his feet retir'd; And his soft soul absorb'd by waves expir'd. The pious youth (ah! tyrant of the flood, Why vainly pious, why untimely good?) Plunged after him precipitate; and try'd To save his brother; but in trying, dyed. Go, gentle pair, nor at your fate repine; Earth or Elysium would to neither shine, Unless to share the joys of both, both join.
Mov'd at our tears; and mov'd to see no more The hapless striplings sporting on his shore, The Eiver God sunk his flag-waving head And melancholy winding thro' the mead, In bubbling murmurs told his grief; till here He saw another Lyttelton appear; No more a double loss he could bemoan, Finding the worth of two compris'd in one.
Excuse this flight, Charles; Oxford inspir'd me; Maudlin Walks gave me the hint, and friendship dictated to
Yrs sincerely, King's Coll., May 22d, 1736. H. WALPOLE.
I receiv'd yours, since I wrote this. Dodd* is at your service. I wish you joy! Adieu!
8 John and Thomas, the two eldest sons of Sir Thomas Lyttelton, first Baronet, were drowned in the Cherwell near Magdalen College on May 9, 1685. They were bnried in the college chapel. Their death was the subject of an elegy by Cowley.
3 Charles Lyttelton had been at University College, Oxford; he matriculated Oct. 10, 1782.
4 John Dodd (d. 1782), of Swallow-field, Berkshire, afterwards M.P. He was at Eton with Walpole and Lyttelton.